Women in Tech: Finding your way in the digital business world
04 September 2023 • 4 min read
At AND Digital we strive to create an inclusive culture where everyone can bring their best self to work. We recognise that in the tech world there are often challenges for females to be recognised and valued for their input, as well as barriers to joining a tech company.
We have a dedicated focus within AND Digital to address these challenges and we encourage our own ANDis to play an active role in this. One of our star performers from Club Sparck in Halifax, is Faye Murdoch who will be speaking at the upcoming Yorkshire Data & Digital Conference as part of the Leeds Digital Festival. We spoke to Faye to get a glimpse of her journey into tech and we touched on a number of topics which will be discussed in detail during the conference.
Faye is a Senior Product Analyst for AND Digital and volunteers as a Product Manager for Code Your Future as well.
Starting a career in tech
Great to speak with you Faye! Can you tell us a little bit about the start of your tech journey and how it has shaped your career?
F: Thank you! My first experiences with technology and digital transformation projects, opened my eyes to the scale of opportunities that are available in the tech industry. A very exciting discovery at the time and I had no idea most of the roles existed! I also quickly realised that the environment was very male dominated and it would be a tough challenge to progress as a female, while staying true to myself. Over time I found a few female role models who inspired me to take the challenges head-on and reminded me of my capabilities, everyone needs that. Lots of my behavioural skills were not valued at the start of my career, to the point of being discouraged to be myself and instead being told to ‘get a tougher skin’ by one of my managers, which was difficult to digest at the time and really knocked my confidence. I realise that I started from a privileged position as I definitely don't know what it’s like to be in a position of minority and was lucky enough to have role models that a lot of people don’t have access to. Even then, I still had struggles being seen and heard as a female in the digital space.
After a while, I decided to start opening the dialogue more often with my peers and managers, to discuss my personal obstacles and seek advice & input (I wasn’t always popular for it as you can imagine). Of course, my experiences were not unique and this has encouraged me to play a proactive role in changing the perception and treatment of females within tech teams. This has evolved into my own personal mission to get females into tech related roles as much as I can. I think it’s so important to help them understand how common things like imposter syndrome and issues with self-belief can be, and if all I offer to someone is reassurance, then count me in.
Sharing experiences to help others
This is enlightening! How do you manage to weave this into your professional life?
F: I have found that many of my skills and experiences apply to most teams and collaborative projects in the tech world. As a Product Analyst, I work with new teams on a regular basis. Building trust & credibility is at the forefront of everything I do, so it exposes me to challenging situations and complex team structures. I engage with my peers from the start and make sure everyone has room to be themselves. I try to lead by example by showing empathy and compassion for everyone, not just at the work level but also taking an active interest in the well-being of my colleagues and learning more about them. Through these consistent actions, I can share my knowledge and experiences with others and learn so much about how to support and represent my peers better.
AND Digital provides me with the opportunity to do this professionally and I have volunteered with Code Your Future, an amazing tech charity, to help get more people (mostly women) into Product related roles, for the last year. I’ve also recently signed up to OneMillionMentors and am hoping to support women through that. By mentoring and guiding others, I feel I can take away some of the barriers I encountered at the start of my career. In doing so, I also continue to learn from those around me and remain curious.
Education is key for everyone in tech
It is great to hear your passion and commitment to helping others. How do you see the future for women in tech?
F: The future looks promising. I am seeing more and more people approaching the subjects around women in tech with an open mind and without fear and a bigger focus on women going into STEM careers. Education and the willingness to learn are critical - it’s also about understanding other people’s perspectives and giving them the grace to learn better ways of approaching things, removing judgement when people don’t have the answers or knowledge. I am fortunate to be part of a continuous learning culture at AND Digital. I genuinely believe that if you combine the focus of shared learning and good intention, then you can achieve great results and more importantly, be yourself and be appreciated for it within the tech world especially. Lean into difficult conversations, they usually make the most significant positive change and if you have them, it might encourage others to do the same.
For more insights and the opportunity to listen and connect with her, Faye Murdoch is speaking at the Yorkshire Data & Digital Conference on 19th September in Leeds. Register your place now.